Growth rooted by solid consumer spending, stronger exports and stimulus from the federal government.
Cheaper access could come at a much higher cost down the road.
Numbers are in line with an improvement in economic growth to about a 2% pace during Q2.
Shipments are still 15% below pre-recession and the sector has recovered only 8,300 of the 43,400 jobs lost between 2007 and 2009.
January RBC PMI reading was 51.7 on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 53.5 in December.
Output increase buoyed by rise in new order volumes, job creation and subdued input price inflation.
Continued increases suggest that recent shocks to the economy have been mitigated by strength elsewhere.
Athena consists of two sister companies that supply natural gas to commercial clients in Quebec.
Canadians are becoming more pessimistic about the economy and gains in living standards will slow as economic power shifts from east to west in the next decade.